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George A. Romero
Simon Baker, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento
Writing Credits:
George A. Romero

The living dead have taken over the world, and the last humans live in a walled city to protect themselves as they come to grips with the situation.

Box Office:
$18 million.
Opening Weekend
$10,221,705 on 2249 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 97 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 9/30/2008

• Audio Commentary with Director George Romero, Producer Peter Grunwald, and Editor Michael Daughtery
• U-Control Picture-In-Picture
• Deleted Scenes
• “When Shaun Met George” Featurette
• “Scenes of Carnage” Featurette
• “Zombie Effects” Featurette
• “Bringing the Storyboards to Life” Featurette
• “Scream Tests” Featurette


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Land Of The Dead [Blu-Ray] (2005)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 8, 2017)

Despite the fact that he started making films in 1968, director George Romero hasn’t mustered much of a résumé. Over the ensuing decades, he barely churned out one every three years, a surprisingly low number.

Because of that, his “Dead” films even more heavily dominate Romero’s legacy. This series started with 1968’s Night of the Living Dead and continued with 1978’s Dawn of the Dead. It looked like Romero would wrap up the supposed trilogy with 1985’s Day of the Dead, but after a 20-year absence from the zombies, he returned with 2005’s Land of the Dead.

Romero stressed that this wasn’t really a sequel, as none of the four Dead films connect together with common characters or stories. They simply share the zombie theme, and this one starts with a world dominated by the undead.

We see a virtual walled city populated by haves and have-nots. The latter live in poverty on the streets, while the former reside in the swank condo community called Fiddler’s Green. Kaufman (Dennis Hopper) runs this estate, and he hires scavengers to go out in a massive armed RV called “Dead Reckoning” to dig up the supplies they need to survive in style.

This group includes two leaders: Riley (Simon Baker) and Cholo (John Leguizamo). Both aspire to lead different lives.

Riley wants out of the area completely, as he hopes to leave and settle someplace up north where no other people remain. He plans to take his dim-witted sharpshooter pal Charlie (Robert Joy) with him.

As for Cholo, he wants to do a George and Weezie, as he dreams that if he saves enough money, he can move on up to Fiddler’s Green. Alas, segregation remains alive and well in Kaufman’s world, as he makes it clear that the Latin Cholo isn’t welcome in the luxury world.

This doesn’t sit well with Cholo, who attempts to exact his revenge. He threatens Kaufman with destruction if he doesn’t receive a ransom. Kaufman promises Riley a decent payoff if he takes Dead Reckoning out to handle Cholo.

The movie follows that thread as well as the slow approach of the zombies. They’ve started to develop intelligence, and “Big Daddy” (Eugene Clark) leads them on a slow assault on Fiddler’s Green.

I thought the first three Dead movies presented a series of diminishing returns. Night was very good, Dawn was decent, and Day stunk. Especially due to Romero’s 20-year absence from the zombies, I didn’t expect any better from Land.

Happily, Land offered a better than anticipated piece of work. Perhaps my low expectations were a factor, as I can’t say I thought I’d find anything very good based on Romero’s prior flicks. In particular, the abundance of other zombie movies over the years made me worry that Romero would be behind the times and would fare especially badly.

Romero kept up with his competition, though some fans may not see that as a good thing. Land seems much more like modern movies such as 28 Days Later or the 2004 Dawn remake. It utilizes a quicker pace and superior elements across the board.

Can stronger production values alone make a movie superior to its predecessors? No, but in the case of Land, they sure do make a big difference. Romero’s prior Dead flicks were low-rent affairs that suffered from cheap visuals and weak acting.

Both areas improve significantly here and make Land much more appealing. Across the board, we find better makeup and effects, and the movie actually uses real actors, so the performances are a big step up from the earlier efforts. On their own, these don’t make Land a good movie, but they remove obstacles that marred prior flicks.

None of the films presented concise stories, and that remains something of an issue in Land. Nonetheless, it has a decent plot that it follows in a reasonably concise manner. There’s not much to the tale, but we don’t expect complexity and depth from a zombie movie, so I don’t find any problems here.

Fans will certainly enjoy the over-the-top gore of Land, especially in this unrated cut. It adds a couple of short scenes such as one in which Cholo takes care of a Fiddler’s Green resident who killed himself, but most of the changes stem from added violence and nastiness. Dead partisans dig all that stuff, and they’ll find more of what they crave in this unrated edition.

I don’t know where those fans rank Land of the Dead among its predecessors, but I think it’s Romero’s best effort since the original 1968 Night of the Living Dead. It develops some intriguing threads and kicks out the desired action and gore. Don’t expect perfection and you’ll enjoy this lively little zombie movie.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio A-/ Bonus C+

Land of the Dead appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though it didn’t excel, this became a satisfying presentation.

Overall sharpness looked good. A little softness could interfere with some of the film’s low-light shots, but those instances remained minor and infrequent, so the movie usually appeared accurate.

Jagged edges and shimmering created no issues, and edge haloes didn’t complicate matters. Print flaws appeared absent, as I noticed no defects during the film.

Zombie flicks don’t lend themselves to bright hues, so Land presented a restricted palette. It suited the grim urban setting. When brighter colors appeared, they seemed fine, but don’t expect much from the intensely gray-green-blue visuals.

Blacks were dense and deep, and shadows looked positive. As noted, these occasionally veered a little soft, but the material remained easy to view. The movie offered a solid transfer.

Given the movie’s many action scenes, I expected a lot of auditory information, and the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack delivered. The mixes opened up matters well and delivered a lively, involving setting.

Gunfire created the most prominent element, as bullets zipped all around us. Other effects also popped up in logical spots and created a fine sense of place. The mix cranked the action into high gear and did so well.

Audio quality was solid. Speech consistently appeared natural and distinctive, with no edginess or concerns related to intelligibility. Music was bright and bold, as the score showed good range and detail.

Effects packed a punch, so gunfire and explosions blasted us with clean, realistic tones. Bass response occasionally seemed slightly boomy, but usually the low-end was smooth and tight. All told, the track created solid audio.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the 2005 DVD? Audio seemed a bit more robust and full, while visuals appeared tighter and smoother. This was a decent upgrade.

The Blu-ray includes many of the DVD’s extras, and we find an audio commentary with director George Romero, producer Peter Grunwald, and editor Michael Daughtery. All three sit together for a running, screen-specific piece.

The participants talk about locations and sets, stunts and practical elements, visual effects, characters and the cast, and general notes from the shoot. They also detail the differences between this cut and the theatrical version.

Boy, that sounds like a strong commentary, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, the reality is far less appealing. I like the parts that talk about changes made for this unrated cut, but almost everything else bores.

The notes remain brief and superficial, as the track almost never really digs into the film’s creation. Lots of dead air occurs with precious little useful information to punctuate the lulls. This commentary comes across as a dull dud.

Six excised clips show up under The Remaining Bits. These last a mere two minutes, 56 seconds total and don’t really qualify as true deleted scenes. They’re all small snippets of segments and don’t add up to much.

Worlds collide in the 12-minute and 59-second When Shaun Met George. Shaun of the Dead actor/co-writer Simon Pegg and director/co-writer Edgar Wright did a cameo as zombies in Land, and this featurette shows their experiences.

We also find remarks from special makeup effects artist Greg Nicotero, Romero’s assistant Gwilym Roddick, and associate producer Silenn Thomas. Pegg and Wright don’t tell us much outside of the “it was great fun” vein, but at least the show presents a decent look behind the scenes to see what it’s like to act as a zombie.

At only one minute, 43 seconds, Scenes of Carnage just shows a series of disgusting shots from the movie. What’s the point? I don’t know. I suppose it can be considered a version of the movie for those who love gore but lack the patience to sit through the whole film.

Technical matters come to the forefront in the three-minute, 18-second Zombie Effects: From Green Screen to Finished Scene. This presents simple comparison shots, as we see many clips before and after completion of their visual effects. I’d like this better if it included commentary to discuss the work, but it’s still moderately interesting to see the elements in their raw state.

More of this kind of material shows up in the seven-minute, 55-second Bringing the Storyboards to Life. This presents direct comparisons as it puts the boards in the top left corner and the movie in the lower half of the screen. It’s the standard piece of this sort and should satisfy those who enjoy this sort of thing.

Finally, Scream Tests: Zombie Casting Call runs one minute, four seconds. I thought this would offer a look at the casting of actors to play zombies.

Instead, it shows crude CG zombies who do the big dance from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video. (Alas, the clip doesn’t include that music.) This is the kind of thing better suited to be an Easter egg than a real feature.

Exclusive the Blu-ray, U-Control offers a “picture-in-picture” component. It mixes storyboards, behind the scenes footage, and interviews. We hear from Romero, Grunwald, Nicotero, producers Mark Canton and Bernie Goldmann, stunt coordinator Matt Birman and actors John Leguizamo, Asia Argento, Dennis Hopper and Simon Baker.

The comments look at story/characters, sets and locations, stunts and action, various effects, cast and performances, and related domains. The DVD included three featurettes that the Blu-ray drops – because it incorporates that material into “U-Control”.

This makes “U-Control” an inefficient use of time. I’d prefer to get the material separately in the original featurettes, as that makes the information easier to access. “U-Control” has some decent footage but it’s not great.

A pretty spry zombie flick, Land of the Dead digs into its subject well. The movie doesn’t excel at much, but it delivers an entertainingly nasty and violent experience. The Blu-ray presents very good picture and audio along with erratic bonus features marred by a deadly dull audio commentary. Though the supplements disappoint, the movie works pretty nicely.

To rate this film visit the DVD review of LAND OF THE DEAD

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